Sunday night was a scary time for me. After more than a year of work, SETT was ready to be deployed on Tynan.com. Well, maybe not "ready", exactly, but I was sick of putting it off. One line in a configuration file was changed, and my site switched from WordPress to SETT.
And then... nothing happened. This was encouraging. The server didn't melt (although there is definitely some optimization that needs to be done), and importantly, most new visitors to my site didn't realize that anything was unusual. Eventually a few people realized that things were different and left feedback. Now, with five days of history, SETT is actually functioning as envisioned. It's an amazing experience to watch our baby start to crawl.
Before I get into the details of what makes SETT unique and how to best use it, a quick disclaimer: this is alpha level software. Some parts of it are extremely polished and functional, while others are barely usable (person to person messaging, for example). Right now I don't need bug reports, because I already have a huge list of bugs that I'm working through. What I would LOVE from you is feedback on the experience. What is confusing? Where do you get stuck? What do you hate? What do you like?
When designing SETT, we tried to consider the various groups of users that interact with a blog, and how to best serve them. For example, most of my readers are casual readers who stop by, read some posts, and leave. I want their experience to be nearly identical to any other blog-- there shouldn't be any new terminology or steps that they have to go through. The only changes we've made on the reader side are a wide content area for media like images and videos, well formatted text, and (for logged in users) indicators for whether or not they've read a post. For the average casual reader, this is a marginal improvement over a normal blog.
Most of SETT's ambition lies with community members. I believe that until now, dedicated readers have been marginalized. I think that out of the 12,000 or so readers I have, there are hundreds who would love to be an important part of the community surrounding this blog, but aren't currently offered any tools to do so.
All SETT blogs have two sides to them: the front page and the community view. If you go back to the main page of this blog (click the header at the top) and then click "community" in the action bar, you'll see the posts that have been created by members of the community. This is similar to a forum or message board. Unlike a forum, I can promote any post to the front page with a single click. That's how Brian's post about Pina got there.
Besides creating original content, you can also vote things up or down. If you login or register for an account, you'll see voting arrows next to every post. Your votes help new readers see what this blog's best posts are, filter out spam, and indicate to me which community posts I should consider promoting to the front page.
There's a lot more that's new with SETT, but I'll keep this short(ish) and let you explore. If you want to help SETT develop, please vote on stuff, leave comments, and create posts in the community section. Please do NOT link to this post (or blog) on any high traffic site just yet. My server can handle it until we implement caching.
I already know that this post is going to get a lot of negative comments like the religion one. And that's because this "every vote counts" dogma that everyone loves so much shares a lot with religion. It's a belief that's held true without a single bit of compelling evidence, and it's a strong belief.
But before I get into that, let's talk about some other things.
First, Obama won and I'm happy about that. I don't think that he's a superhero like a lot of people do. When I look at his positions I disagree with most of them. I disagree with most of McCain's positions as well.
This blog is powered by SETT, a brand new state-of-art blogging platform created by Tynan. Unlike traditional Wordpress blogs, SETT provides a lot more opportunity for reader interaction.
Do you see the Community link at the top of this page? That's where any one of you can create your own posts and share them with the rest of my readers. If your posts are good, I'll immediately promote them to the front page of this blog so that your ideas get even more exposure.
The community section of SETT takes reader participation to a whole new level. In traditional blogs the reader is only allowed to leave comments at the end of each post (which usually don't get read anyway). On SETT, however, readers get their own section of the blog in which ideas can spread beyond what's possible on traditional blogs. Check out the community of Tynan's blog to see what it looks like when the audience gets involved.
Every post and every comment on SETT can be voted up or down using the arrows on the top lefthand corner. That way you can let the author know whether they're doing a good job and provide feedback with just one click. Over time as more people vote the unpopular comments will sink to the bottom, while the good ones will stay on the top.
Another thing worth mentioning is how well SETT handles comments. Multiple nested comments look fabulous on SETT, and there's usually a lot more discussion going on as well. When you reply to someone in a traditional blog, in most cases they'll never even see your comment. However, on SETT the person you're responding to will be notified via email so that they know about your response and the discussion can continue.